The rebels were killed on Sunday in a mountainous region of Bumirdis - near the village Ghirzual - some 60km east of Algiers, the radio said on Monday.

   

It was not immediately clear whether they were members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which is known to operate in the area.

   

Several weapons, including a Kalashnikov AK-47, were confiscated.

 

Base dismantled

   

The attack came two days after security forces dismantled a GSPC base and killed four of its members in the same province, according to newspaper reports.

   

Rebellion began in oil-rich Algeria when authorities cancelled legislative elections after it became clear an Islamist party was set to win in 1992.

   

More than 150,000 people have died in the conflict, according to human-rights groups. But violence has fallen sharply in recent years.